Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Flying Cobras

The five adventurers have their final assignment: rescue the slaves of the Deep City of Zarn and eliminate one of the main men responsible for funding the slave trade, Lord Zakkharn.

Let's see how well that works out for them, shall we? Part Two is up and running!

Flying Cobras Chapters 5-8





Friday, June 24, 2016

Book Review: Trials of Apollo

On the DZA Review Scale, I give it a solid fantastic bordering on spectacular (it lost a few points for having a stereotypical damsel in distress).

Read it here!



"Hey, wait a minute! On your 'Sneak Peak' page, you said you were reading a book called Dangerous Women. What's with this?" 

Dangerous Women is over 1000 pages long, that's what. So I took a break from that and decided to crack open Rick Riordan's new one. I only meant to read the first few chapters, but before I knew it, it was after midnight and the entire book was done. Oops!

Despite the fact that it reads "book one" on the cover, this is actually book 11 of the Percy Jackson Series. Well, technically it's book 12, since it takes place during the Magnus Chase book, so I guess it's book 11.5. So if you don't want any spoilers for the first ten and a half books, read no further!

At the end of The Blood of Olympus, we saw that Zeus was pissed at Apollo because the Oracle started failing on his watch, and we find out it was because Apollo got careless and let an enemy reclaim the Oracle (specifically, Python, who is the big bad in Apollo's world). So as punishment, Zeus turns Apollo into a mortal and throws him into a dumpster in NYC. The Trials of Apollo is basically Apollo complaining about this while going through the hell that is his quest to regain his immortality (which will likely take another 2-4 books to finish). 

Apollo is the perfect anti-hero. He's narcissistic, careless, selfish, arrogant, and alternates between Holier Than Thou speech and modern teenager speech, leaning more on the latter the longer he remains mortal. But he does have a heart buried under all of that, and a protective streak, and a conscience (which gets pretty loud the more he realizes how much he's screwed up the last 4000 years). 

There's also some really cute Will/Nico scenes (they're dating!!!) and we find out what happened to Leo after he picked up Calypso. We get a kickass daughter of Demeter named Meg (now we just need a BAMF kid of Dionysus and a kid of Hermes who won't spend three and a half books as the bad guy and we'll have every Olympian who can have kids with awesome kids). And like the majority of the Heroes of Olympus books, Percy makes a few appearances, but doesn't take up the whole story. In fact, he's right on the fringes of this one, barely more than a minor character. It's weird. 

Of course, in true Rick Riordan fashion, there's a deep theme of family. Or rather, the consequences of dysfunctional families. In this case, we're looking at full-blown domestic violence. But I shan't say any more. :)

The only flaw I could find was toward the end where Meg, the main female character, needs to be dramatically rescued by Apollo, serving at the catalyst for his major personality change from narcissistic ass to compassionate hero (who's still a bit narcissistic; you can't expect miracles, people). She has to be saved by these massive bug-monsters, and the cliffhanger ending leaves Apollo with the task of saving her again from a much more complicated issue. 

However, Meg does have some badass moments (she carries a pair of mean sickles, has a deadly karpoi ally named Peaches, and does a bunch of other cool stuff with plants), and Rick is very good at leveling the playing field between male and female characters (just look at Annabeth and Percy for crying out loud), so I'm not that worried.

It gets bonus points for non-stereotypical LGBT characters (Nico and Will, and Apollo himself). 

Anyway, I highly recommend it, and I'm really looking forward to book 2 (er, 12.5). 

Also, no spoilers today because Rick Riordan's books are always funny and snarky and there's no possible way I can add onto it. See y'all on Wednesday! 

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Buy The Trials of Apollo: Book One here!

Thanks for reading! :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Release the Flying Cobras!

I am unleashing a novel on Channillo.com called The Flying Cobras. Technically it's a series because Channillo is weird, and while I could upload the novel all at once instead of doing it chapter by chapter...what's the fun in that?

Also, it's quite large, so I may end up splitting it into 2 books. It'll depend on how much I want to annoy you lovely readers. :)


The Flying Cobras is based on the Dungeons and Dragons adventures of me, my brother, and my dad, which I talked about in my first ever blog post. 

Description: 

A team of adventurers. A magical world. A big bad guy. Simple, right?

Well...

Three (technically four) of those adventurers are fugitives. 
Most of them have major trust issues. 
One is a werewolf. 
One sets his hair on fire every time he gets angry (which is alarmingly frequently). 
One's father is a demon. 
One is terrified of spiders.

BTW, that big bad buy? She's a goddess. And her main form is a spider.

This is not going to be easy.

(Note: if this was a movie, it'd be rated R for violence and swearing.)
(Another note: I will eventually change the ridiculous cover of this book to something slightly more fitting.)

Subscribe to it here on Channillo and that will make me a very happy writer!

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If you have any questions, comments, or concerns and aren't comfortable using the little comment box below, then please contact me directly.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Movie! Finding Dory

Sorry, I'm sorry! It's been waaaay too long since I last posted. I've been studying abroad in Rwanda for the past few weeks, which is an amazing country not exactly known for its stellar wifi. I could barely keep my family in the loop on Facebook, never mind all the social media demanded by this blog and the blog itself. 

But I'm back! And we saw Finding Dory on Friday, so to make up for the absence, here's a review on a movie that's...actually, the movie itself is funny/snarky enough that there's not really much I can add other than to rave about how awesome it is. So, yeah. Enjoy the raving. 

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Order Finding Dory here.

SPOILERS AHOY!

On the DZA Scale I give it a solid spectacular. (Same level as Star Wars: the Force Awakens, just a step below Game of Thrones, though only because nobody died.)



So everyone saw Finding Nemo, right? If you haven't, exit out of this blog (no, I'm serious, do it), turn on the TV or go to whatever streaming website you've sold your soul to (I have mine split between HBO Now and Hulu with a dash of Amazon), download and watch. Then go out to the theaters and watch Finding Dory. You will not regret the solid four hours of watching.

Okay, now that we're all caught up, let's talk about disabilities!

That's really what the Nemo series is about. Finding Nemo focuses on physical disabilities with Nemo (lucky fin) and Gill (shredded fin).

Finding Dory focuses on mental disabilities with Dory, Hank the octopus who's lost a tentacle and is terrified of losing another and so can't stand being touched (haphephobia), Becky the loon (I don't even know), Bailey with a head injury that interfered with his sonar, and Destiny the near-sighed whale shark, who can see about as well as I can without my glasses (that is to say, not at all).

And yeah, there's the whole thing about family and love and to keep going even when life turns to shit (just keep swimming, just keep swimming...), but that's in every Disney movie. And it's a rare thing where a movie/book/TV show talks about a marginalized group and taboo topic in an engaging manner to children without offending said group. And as a sequel that doesn't suck, too! Tri-fecta.

One of the biggest parts of Finding Dory is the role of people without disabilities in supporting/working with people with disabilities. Marlin learned how to support Nemo's physical disability in Finding Nemo, but still gets impatient and at times even cruel with Dory and her memory loss. There's a part near the beginning where he pushes Dory away and tells her to forget about them being chased by a giant squid that tried to kill them five minutes ago, since forgetting is "what you do best" (and then of course Dory ends up taken by humans and shoved into an aquarium).

Marlin's problem is that he's trying to work against Dory's mind, trying to force her to work in a way she simply doesn't work, going against her nature. (He even discourages her from attending school because he thinks she'd be a drag on the teacher, which, not cool, Marlin!)

Compare to Dory's parents, who work with Dory's mind and instill habits and behaviors into her long-term memory so she'll do them out of habit, such as following a trail of shells back to their house or to just keep swimming. (Did anyone else kinda cry when they saw all the shell-trails the parents had made while Dory was gone? I did.)

Basically the message is: Some people think/work/operate differently from you. Deal with it.

I can live with that. :)

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Order Finding Dory here.

Thanks for reading! :)